Firstly, I would like to thank everybody who has been on board with us; without you lot, we wouldn’t be here. I will give you guys a brief summary of what has happened and what lies ahead.
This year has seen quite the ups and downs in the company. To make sure the company is surviving, I have a policy that if the company balance is under 500k, we will start cutting costs (which we can do by removing buses and maps). We have reached this boiling point once this year and that forced us to implode, first limits and removals. Thankfully, thanks to activity rising again after Ahlheim & Laurenzbach received an update, we have reached 1 million in balance again, however we will be a bit more careful this time with spending.
Vehicles & choice of them
Regarding vehicles, I feel that I would like to clarify some of the choices I have made. In most cases you have probably noticed I have made some strange choices for most of you, for example:
- Solaris buses use MOKI dashboards
- City bus door combinations: 12m buses we always prefer 3-door over 2-door versions and articulated buses we prefer 4-door over 3-door or 5-door versions (also if bus originally only has combination that is not preferred, but preferred version comes out I get that and depending on usage count I may fade out original combination at one point)
- Passenger entry I prefer that passengers use all (or back doors) to preferably for entering instead of the front door enter and back door exit.
- I sometimes prefer PL buses over DE versions of them (if I have a choice).
- We have less double decker buses than other English OMSI communities.
Reasons for these decisions go back to the history and creation of this company. GO Bus Virtual is based on a real bus companies here in Estonian, thus, if possible, I tend to make choices that feel similar to how buses feel and look here. The main reason why I founded GO Bus Virtual was that I wanted to have a company that is a bit different from all the German and English companies and I plan to follow that trend.
However, I’m not a complete ass and I do listen to what people request. Regarding the complaints with Solaris PL buses we have, as I stated previously, we won’t switch away from MOKI dashboards, however by listening to what people are talking about – what people mostly don’t like about these buses is how the doors behave (how they won’t close a lot of times), that is actually a feature of the bus and configurable through repaint, thus you guys can expect a repaint update at the beginning of new year, which will revert the door behaviour of all Solaris buses to default ones.
This year, we have experimented a lot with different kind of events next to company drives. Sadly, organising company drives, does not work anymore – no matter if I gave notice 2 weeks prior or few days prior, in most cases we had 0-3 people only attending. For this I blame my time zone as I’m quite offset compared rest of the people in the company. I’m trying to push rest of the managers to host company drives themselves as they are in better time zones.
However, one of our experimental events: weekly events (where we gave goals to use specific buses, maps, lines and so on) has been quite popular. As they are quite simple to organise, we plan to make more of them.
Competition & company rating
As most of you know, I don’t really care what the competition (the rest of the English companies or even German companies) does out there, I like for us to go at our own pace. However, some of you may have noticed that lately we have been a bit stricter on things related to company rating: this is due to the fact that lower the company rating is, the less maps can the company have and less payment per trip is earned. Currently our biggest weak points are:
- Passenger comfort: this is caused by any action that you passengers complain about: rough driving, crashes, temperature (yes this is a thing, preferred temperature for passengers is between 20-23C), driving without interior lights etc.
- Punctuality: More than 2 minutes early and 3 minutes late is what OMSI considers unpunctualy and this actually hurts the company most.
Coming back to competition, we are now going to try out setting the option “Connected with other companies” to false. What does it mean roughly? That means we will no longer be getting suggestions for cancelled tours from other companies. However this does add two big pluses: all routes and all bonus tours are available to us, we won’t see any routes being taken by members of other companies anymore (I’ve heard this was a big issue on Ruhrau and A&L maps for example).
If we do not like this setting, I can turn it back on after 7 days have passed.
What more do we have planned?
Some of you guys know, some of you don’t. I work as software/web developer and due this fact I’m actually planning to rebuild our website (main page, OMSI site and haulage site) using my own knowledge instead of using WordPress (which we currently use). This gives me more flexibility on how to make things. I have some nice plans for our fleet page: for example, the current separate spreadsheet that will show were buses are parked in the garage, will be built into the main page so that it makes finding buses easier for you guys as we do have quite a lot of them. 😉